&vendy's a-day bouquet

&prepping dad's b-day brunch

&vendy's v-day gift single o smokie

&vendy's b-day crepe

&latte @ sense appeal

*May 1, 2011

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Spring brunch with Denise/Stephen/Steven.

Dinner with Rach/James. The speed of love.

*April 30, 2011

S and I saw kumare at hotdocs today. Vikram Gandhi becomes a guru to convince people that they don't need gurus because they can find the guru within. He shares tips like make a priority list each day, which I do when I walk to work. I guess I already found the guru within. Anyway, the real inspiration is how people respond when you listen. Although a fake guru, his connections with his followers are real.

My biggest issue with myself is that I don't listen. Becoming a better listener was my new year's resolution for 2008. I told my mum to remind me of my resolution whenever I'm not listening but it happened so often that I told her to stop. The truth is I always feel like I have no time to listen. Which is stupid because listening is the most important thing. I'm going to put listening on my priority list each day.

*April 24, 2011

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Each anniversary, we prioritize our travel dreams

Easter with S's parents and grandfather

*April 17, 2011

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Story of Tanya

Story of Luke

*April 13, 2011

Wei and I grabbed sandwiches at petit four and wondered why so many smart kids from her year (class of 2007) are getting MBA's. I'm sure each person has his or her own reasons but here are some general impressions from visiting Harvard, Wharton, Chicago and Stern.

+ People who want to try management consulting*. In 2008, I visited these schools because I thought it would be cool to try management consulting. Since then, I've come to the conclusion that success is 80% execution. All the big companies seem to have the same ideas. I couldn't help but wonder if management consultanting popularizes red ocean strategies.

+ People who want to try investment banking*. When I was at school, one of the coop advisors told me that all the smart kids from my year (class of 2005) were going into investment banking. If one has deep knowledge of an industry facing consolidation or special connections in an emerging market, it would make sense. Otherwise, competing with smart kids who are willing to work 100 hours a week is a red ocean strategy.

+ People who want to be entrepreneurs. I think the smartest kids in my generation are becoming entrepreneurs and there are huge opportunities at the intersection of technology and statistics. But what does getting an MBA have to do with it?

+ People who want to put Harvard on their resume. I find it hilarious that various business publications rank MBA's by ROI's. This is like ranking lipsticks by ROI's. Most of my friends are driven not by money, but by self-esteem. People who believe in themselves become more successful. If having Harvard on your resume makes you believe, it's a good investment.

*I keep hearing that management consulting and investment banking are about exit opportunities. But the people I know of that made amazing exits are so amazingly smart and amazingly hardworking that they would have gotten somewhere amazing without an MBA.

*April 11, 2011

Back from Argentina. Feeling blah because I'm apparently responsible for making a quarterly dashboard for tracking Manulife's progress at rebalancing the product portfolio. I agree that rebalancing the product portfolio is important and important things should be measured. But asking people whether variance from plan is due to volume or expense is driving me nuts and I'm sure I'm driving them nuts. Carlos, who used to work in Product Risk Management, once rapped about reconciliation. Now I know why.

*March 19, 2011

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Canada Blooms + Amore

*March 13, 2011

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Batifole + curling + playing pandemic with Stephen's parents

*March 6, 2011

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Tushar bday

Dad bday

*February 27, 2011

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Ski w/ Carl/Sharon

*February 20, 2011

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Princess of Burgundia with Stephen's parents

Ski w/ Brish

*February 12, 2011

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Lunch w/ Jason. The best couples ...

Brunch @ bellevue w/ Liz/Kevin

*February 6, 2011

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Bday crepe + Tequila Bookworm

Denise cooked bday dinner for me

*February 4, 2011

One of the things I do as a member of Manulife's Toronto Actuarial Development Committee is representing a group of actuarial students. This week, I had tea with Frank and Michael. Frank majored in business and switched into the actuarial development program after working for manulife in a different capacity. There is no standard procedure for non-actuaries to get into the program. But he talked to lots of people and made it happen. Michael joined recently from Mercer. He's busy settling into his new house near Bathurst/College.

*January 28, 2011

Last year, Fei and I did an internal presentation on product risk. One of the people that contacted me after the presentation is Alex. His background is accounting. He is curious about actuarial science, so we met up for coffee @ sense appeal.

One of the things I do as a member of Manulife's Toronto Actuarial Development Committee is representing a group of actuarial students. This week, I had tea with Patrick. I asked for his thoughts on the future of the industry. Although a new grad, his response was insightful and inspiring.

Friday, Faisel/Fei/Jessica's fellowship party. Tushar made a surprise appearance.

*January 23, 2011

Sunday, S's parents and grandfather visited us. I pan-fried beef tenderloin (very particular cut which I can only find at Metro) and sea bass (frozen from T&T). For housewarming, we received wine glasses and baking dishes :)

We tried to explain to S's parents that, even though maintenance fee includes electricity, we don't use the dishwasher because it would increase the cost of electricity for the building. They stare at us and says: I see ... you both grew up under communist regimes.

*January 16, 2011

Since S only has three weeks of vacation in 2011, I'm trying to think ahead and optimize our travels together. Which led to me worrying about that he will one day hate me for planning out his whole life. Which led to a hopefully more sustainable strategy.

Step 1: Wendy set deadline for draft plan
Step 2: S drafts plan before deadline
Step 3: Wendy adds to draft plan

We realize this will require more effort: he will spend time planning; I will refrain from planning a two week vacation over the course of 24 hours. We think the effort is worth it, because we really want what we have to last, today and tomorrow.

*January 15, 2011

Wednesday, S and I met up with Bonny/Rachel/Wilfred at xoco for almost solid chocolate drinks. To ensure chocolate overdose, I grabbed a small box of chorizo truffle.

Saturday, S and I met up with Carl/Sharon/Tonya/Mike/Wei at El Trompo. My tacos were delish. Me thinks S's cheese dish was scary, but he thinks it's delish. Wanda's Pie in the Sky was closed, so we achieved sugar overdose at Cafe la Gaffe.

*January 9, 2011

Saturday, S and I skated with Bonny/Rachel/Wilfred at city hall. Freezing. Ducked into queen mother cafe for giant slice of lemon meringue cake.

Sunday, dad drove to West Elm twice to pick up sofa.

*January 8, 2011

Amy Chua, a Yale professor married to another Yale professor with at least one virtuoso daughter, wrote an essay entitled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior for Wall Street Journal. A more extreme version of my mother's style until I was ten, for which my mother has been apologizing in recent years. Having lived in Canada for more than ten years, hitting children for not trying their best no longer feels right to her.

Like Chua's first child, "I decided to be an easy child to raise." Part of the reason being that I have even higher standards for myself than my mother. We moved to Australia when I was ten and I realized that, in this new place, she was more confused than I was. So I told her I was going to follow my own advice. I didn't say it very nicely and made her very sad.

Given my temperament, I think she made good decisions. But decisions are not as important as intentions. It was always clear to me that she was doing what she considered "the best for me", as opposed to playing the part of "the best mother". She is already thinking about how to raise her grandchildren. As for me, I cannot help but wonder ... nature versus nurture?

*January 2, 2011

Saturday, kicked off 2011 with Emir Kusturica's "Black Cat, White Cat".

Sunday, Jenny dropped by on her way to the airport. We talked about the future. Jenny wants a big house. S wants a green house.